How to avoid paying customs duty on Christmas gifts between the UK and Europe.

Frustration due to new customs rules.

What is the problem?

It is now much more complicated to send and receive good between the UK and the rest of Europe.   Britain is no longer in the customs union which leads to a very big increase in red tape and costs. The text below is harvested from forums and Facebook discussions.

Examples of problems?

I’ve just had to pay customs duty of 21% on a second hand book from the UK after a ten week delay in its delivery. I calculated this from the declared value that the Spanish customs  had converted to Euros, then added 4.50 admin costs then IVA at 21% on top of that. I now read that IVA on books was reduced to 4% last year and I also thought that books were free of any duty.

…. My daughters Christmas parcel to us posted air freight ( two to three says delivery quoted) December 16 with well known courier finally arrived today post Brexit. Customs would not release it until! 116 euros charges paid on parcel containing 152 pounds in gifts. The delivery company have refused to reimburse! Thanks Brexit!.

We have stopped people sending from U.K. after last parcel a gift, took two months to clear customs and cost us €42 .

Hi again – still waiting for a parcel sent from UK to Spain on Jan 11th – says stuck in customs – desperate for parcel as start new job on Tuesday

I recently ordered frames for glasses which came from a company outside of the EU (I did not realise that at the time). They had demo lenses only and I will have to have prescription lenses fitted here in Spain. The frames were very expensive… €250. To my horror, I have now been charged €87 for customs fees and duty which I had to pay before they would be released to me. This seems an incredible amount to pay for customs fees… 35% of the value of the item. Is this normal?

The solution to the problem?

Although most of us don’t like Amazon for treating their workers badly and not paying hardly any  taxes the solution is to just go to a website in the destination country.



To send Christmas cards to any country in the world use companies like moonpig. They send them within the destination country thus avoiding customs. Click here to go to moonpig

Pretending to be be where you aren’t using VPN
Sometimes websites don’t allow you to do certain things if your ip address indicates that you are in certain countries. The best way around this is to use a VPN. It has other advantages such as being able to to watch TV in other countries. EG BBC Iplayer or different versions of netflix.   I use Pure VPN. It works very well. I sign up for the 5 year option and it works out very cheap.
Click here to go the the PURE VPN page.

Note: Most of the links in this page have affiliate tracking codes.  In theory I will get commission if you buy anything. However in reality most affiliate programs find ways of not actually paying anything out.


Filling up with Petrol in the UK

The shortage of lorry drivers in the UK has made it much more difficult to obtain petrol in the UK and some people have resorted to extreme measures.

Why did people vote for Brexit?


I am British and have benefited from being in the EU because I have been able to live in Spain for the last 30 years.  I hate the grey British weather and having blue skies almost every day makes me happy.  I don’t spend a lot of time  with many British people so I have never understood why anyone would want to vote for Brexit.  It seems illogical to me.  To get more information I have visited  some pro Brexit websites and harvested  the following pieces of text which give reasons.

It seems that the main reasons are too much immigration, immigrants undercutting wages and people having money problems which are blamed on the EU.  The EU is deemed to be unfair and does not offer value for money.

Here are the statements:
Note: I have copied the quotes as is and have not corrected spelling mistakes etc. I did not use any editorial control I just copied the first ones I found.

Our country is being ruined by too much immigration.

The NHS wouldn’t need the extra staff if the Immigrants were not scrounging on it.

I want an appointment to see a doctor, it takes 3 weeks to see one. It used to be 1 or 2 days,

We are being trampled on.

Why did they vote for Brexit?

The amount of foreigners using the NHS is on the increase year in year out while we remain in the EU.

What about the 4 Billion on migrant benefits??

Apprenticeships along with training in most trades and industry went out of the window when we joined the EEC/EU. All part of the plan to wind Britain down into one of the United States of Europe and flood it with immigrant low paid workers.

Dump the Frump – Chuck Chequers – Leave with no deal

We need to get out NOW..

I read yesterday that a third of the world’s population is in the Commonwealth group of nations! Let’s leave and trade with them!

Keep our fishing grounds

Let’s invest in the British people!


Out with May in with Tommy Robinson let’s get the *ucking ball moving…

The eu is sinking and without us it will implode.

Get us out of the EU and with No Deal we need the £39 billion for our people.

They need us far more than we need them. Soon come knocking on the door when they realise they messed up when other members start leaving too.

At the end of the day we need someone that will stand up to the non elected EU.

This Irish backstop why can’t we keep it the way it is with no hard boarder! Switzerland is surrounded by EU member countries and not one has a hard boarder.

Can’t the fools see were full up NHS is at breaking point hospitals full wait weeks for doctors appointment schools full roads jammed having to build on our green belt to house all these people we are full can’t the idiot MPs see it

If they come to work that aint a problem.. We just don’t need benefit scroungers ..think of our pensioners first

That’s the trouble with this country, stepping over British citizens to welcome everybody and anybody in without any thought.

We have too many here and our infrastructure cannot cope. And I am fed up with this lala attitude..

If foreigners come to work here we don’t want thousands of relatives coming as well.

Self employed East Europeans are undercutting self employed British workers on contract prices by sleeping in dormitories in multi occupancy accommodation which reduces living costs . The minimum wage does not apply to the self employed .

I have friends who have been out of work for several year and have qualification,they have even applied for shop or office work in fact any job that will bring a bit of money into the house but it appears immigrants are given the jobs first but then our law states that employers have to take a percentage of immigrants but it looks to be like that percentage is higher than it should be.

when was the last time we got to see the doctor without a 2 week wait?

I only got about £35 year until in 2013 when my husband died, Then I lost that and got his Pittance of a pension , and yet people from out side this country come hear and get all the benefits are much better off than the likes of me when my father and grandfather and husband have payed into this country for donkeys yrs

I worked many years part-time and years full-time so I get my full pension. That is what makes me so cross because we have immigrants in this country from years ago who have never worked, particularly the women but they get the pension.

The EU low skilled have found that work for a year and you entitled to full benefits, especially if you are a woman expecting.

Importing cheap labour only indulges our people’s desire to not work, and that doesn’t produce a stable or healthy society

where I live there is a large Romanian Population They use gardens for toilets, litter the streets with rubbish & steal anything they can get their hands on including charity tins We certainly don’t need them in our country

when my children were young, so had to try part time work as i had no one to care for them once out of school. I got no widows pension no help at all,. and now retired get sod all to live on. That,s why i voted to leave the EU knowing there pensioners get a lot more then we do..

two week wait for the doctors that’s good it takes me 4 weeks to get in.

Will all those people who seem determined for us to stay in Europe kindly pack their bags and f**k off across the channel. If nothing else I might then be able to park the car wherever I please.

this is exactly what millions of people voted for. Leave, no deal just leave and keep our £39 billion in our country !!!

I knew exactly what I was voting for to get shut of that lot of dictators and get my country back I didn’t vote to be richer or poorer I voted OUT SIMPLE

if they want to treat us like dirt then we just walk and spend the 39 billion on a big party

If we bought more cars that are made in the UK, our Pensions would be a lot better than £155/ week.

The UK state pension is actually the lowest state pension paid by any country in the developed world.

Let’s get out and bring back British values of loyalty and a sense of community!

Too many foreigners in this country who will not assimilate and cant even speak the language.

French want our fish, Spanish want the rock and Germany wants it all.

Walk away,take our money off the table and watch them come running.

The ONLY way to protect the UK from the vindictive EU is to leave on WTO terms

So the Oceans are dying? , certainly our stocks are going down because of overfishing by EU countries. We should set our own quotas

Anyone ever think that we must be paying far too much tax if they can afford to give the eu 350million a week freely of our taxes that i thought were collected to look after our own services in Britain? Our own people in britain and our hungry and homeless in britain? Not forgetting OUR tax money to foreign aid?

whilst countries like Poland have received millions every year from the EU to improve their infrastructure, railways, schools and health service etc… the UK’s own social care and health service has declined and now suffers from inadequate investment.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans have come to Britain to do a job.

My Comment
I would be very sad to see Britain leave the EU.  In my own personal situation I could get Spanish nationality because I have been a tax paying resident for many years. It seems that the main reason for voting Brexit was immigration.  The current situation  in Britain as well as Spain immigrants have to either support themselves economically or go home.  Immigrants are paying taxes and are not scroungers because they are performing valuable services in the economy.  However,  maybe the British are disgruntled because the  immigrants are willing to work for low pay and conditions, this may be good for business but it may lead to resentment from the lower paid sections of society who may feel they are being undercut.

I am an immigrant myself. In 30 years I have almost never suffered from racism in Spain.   It is my opinion that a  large amount of humans are naturally xenophobic.  It seems to me that Brexit is a reaction to immigration.